Next Year's College Basketball Talent Hotbed: San Francisco Bay Area

February 16th, 2007

Few teams across this country get to celebrate the NCAA Tournament each year. Some schools with legacy and name affiliation with basketball not only expect to get to the 'Big Dance' each year, but to compete for the championship. Other schools are happy just to be there and possibly get the big upset win that will be shown on all major networks for years to come. The San Francisco Bay area has not been a land of talent in recent years. Outside of the great run by the Stanford Cardinal in 2004, the Bay Area has been a land of famine for talented college hoops teams. Stanford has been lackluster and Cal has not been much more than a 'not getting in or getting in and going nowhere team'. Pacific was starting to get impressive but has struggled. San Jose State has not done anything in the WAC and the WCC trio of Santa Clara, St. Mary's, and USF have been doormats to the conference powerhouse, Gonzaga.
The air of change seems to be present as talent is certainly brewing in the Bay Area. The Pacific 10 conference ("Pac-10") has been pushed by pundits as perhaps the most competitive conference this year. This will help Cal and Stanford with recruiting efforts and Stanford may still be able to dance this year. Both rosters are chockful with young talent like the Lopez twins, Ryan Anderson, Landry Fields, and others. Trent Johnson has the Cardinal buying into his program and I believe next year, they may be competing for the Pac-10 title. Top prospects are going to both schools next year in Omondi Amoke for Cal and Josh Owens for Stanford. As for the Bay Area WCC trio, they are showing Gonzaga that they are not going to take the pushing around anymore. St. Mary's has some young talent that will only make them better next year and USF brought in transfers for powerhouse schools across the country who will be eligible for a couple more years. Santa Clara, currently the leader in the WCC standings, looks to build next year with two recruits of 6'9" and 6'11", respectively. Also word is swirling that former Stanford and Golden State Warriors coach, Mike Montgomery, may take the reins for the Broncos. This would open the range of recruiting efforts by Santa Clara, ten-fold. Montgomery knows the system he wants to put into effect, knows what type of players he needs to make the system effective, and how to get players to buy into the system.
The key is for these schools to not rely on that one player like Miami-Ohio with Szczerbiak, Santa Clara with Nash, and so forth. You have to build up and keep reloading with recruits to keep your team effective. Exposure is key as well so these schools need to not only get in the tournament but become the talk of the media when they get there and make their presence known.